I will never forget the first time I realized how delicious carrots can be. While visiting my Sister in Upper Michigan one summer, we ambled into her garden to pull some items for dinner. For the first time, I pulled a carrot straight from the ground, wiped it clean and munched-in. Happier than any rabbit, I nibbled away, simply delighted by the slightly sweet flavor balanced by a twinge of bright bitterness.
There was a spark of surprise mixed with pride in my Sister’s eyes as I smiled and said “This carrot is good! Who knew carrots were SO GOOD!” When she asked me to join her in the garden, likely she wanted nothing more than an extra set of hands and time to talk to her Sister who lived over 820 miles away. Yet through her hard work in planting, growing and tending her garden, she had shared with me a simple vegetable that knocked my socks off.
It’s been years, nearly a decade since that day, yet that taste memory comes back vividly whenever I come across a beautiful bundle of carrots at a farmers market. Those orange bundles of flavor reaching out like dirty little fingers as if to tickle a smile onto your face. With this fond of an association with a vegetable, it’s surprising it took me this long to evolve a standard Carrot Soup recipe into my latest obsession.
A few days back, realizing I had gone a little overboard when I last picked up carrots, I pulled together a simple Carrot Ginger Soup. It wasn’t until lunch the next day, that I reminded myself that I do not own a microwave. I hated the thought of turning on the stove just to warm soup for myself, so I decided to taste the soup cold, why not right? Turns out, it was the best lazy moment of my culinary week.
In my mind I was thinking gazpacho, in my mouth I was tasting something far richer but just as bright, refreshing and complex. The sweetness of the carrot shined through even more clearly cold, the warmth of the ginger still present. I added some olive oil and a healthy dash of freshly ground pepper and tasted again. I wanted something more, something extra and decided to chiffonade a little of my own garden fresh basil and add just a crumble of Maldon Sea Salt.
That was it, so satisfying, so bright with a touch of the carrot’s sweetness balanced out by the earthy olive oil and pepper. Lesson learned, don’t lament not having a microwave and don’t be afraid to try that leftover soup cold!
Carrot Ginger Soup
- 4 cups carrots (cleaned and chopped)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup Spanish onion (roughly chopped)
- 1/2 cup Heavy cream (or a 14 oz can of coconut milk if you have it)
- 1/4 cup Fresh ginger (peeled and finely chopped – you’ll puree the soup in the end)
- 1 large Clove of garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or pot on the stove, add onions and sauté to translucent (approximately 5 minutes).
- Add garlic and carrots sautéing until they just begin to brown, then add broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer with the lid on until the carrots are fork tender (approximately 20 minutes).
- Turn off the soup and let it cool slightly, just enough to ladle to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree.
- Mix in the cream/coconut milk, salt and pepper to taste, return to your dutch oven or pot to warm before serving and blend together the flavors fully.
Enjoy hot day one… day two serve cool with a healthy dash of extra virgin olive oil, more pepper and salt if you like, plus a nice handful of thinly sliced basil.